Parents and a local MLA are urging the province to replace the roof of a school that has been leaking for over two decades, after a student slipped on a wet floor in the school and suffered a concussion last November.
"I was absolutely aghast that that happened," said Sandra Arthur, who chairs the parent advisory council at Bayside Middle School, a school in Saanich built in 1992.
Arthur said there are "line and lines of buckets" in various rooms and corridors throughout the school, and said there are teachers who are having to dodge dripping water in their classrooms."
"There's a few classrooms where the water is actually gaining access into the electricity light fixtures so they have to turn the lights off because it's unsafe, and then the children are working in a dimmed light environment."
School district has asked for funding
Arthur and a group of parents gained the support of Gary Holman, NDP MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, who tabled a petition of about 500 signatures in the B.C. legislature calling for the province to replace the roof.
Holman said the issue was first brought to his attention when the parent of the child who fell wrote to his office.
He said he then contacted the Saanich School District, and found out that they had been trying since 2007 to apply for capital funding from the province to replace the roof but were repeatedly turned down.
Holman said the district has spent close to $400,000 over the past decade trying to fix the roof and raised the issue during question period in the B.C. legislature on Feb. 23.
Education Minister is aware of leaky roof
Education Minister Mike Bernier said he has met with Holman and said his ministry staff have been working behind the scenes with the school district to look at the problem.
"This has gone on too long," he said. "This is something that has to be addressed."
Holman said he was encouraged by the minister's response, but both he and the school's PAC chair Sandra Arthur said they will feel more at ease when the province commits the funding to replace the roof.
Arthur said a permanent solution is needed rather than a piecemeal approach.
"Since the beginning of the building being built 20 years ago they've had a number of remedial repairs, and in the last ten years nearly $400,000 has been spent on band-aid solutions: patching up leaks, repairing broken roof tiles and so on."
"Bayside does need a complete overhaul with a brand new roof."
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